General Fiction posted July 8, 2014 Chapters:  ...54 55 -56- 57... 

This work has reached the exceptional level
Sarah and the doctor discuss opinions and candles.

A chapter in the book Enough to Miss Christmas

Enlightening Dr. Mason

by Fridayauthor

Both Sarah and stepdaughter are seeing Dr. Mason over mother issues. At home, their family continues to adjust to their new situation.
     Before I could express my feelings further to Doctor Mason, he  moved on, asking me why I relied so much on my childhood in raising Karen and Timmy.
     “I inherited these children, Doctor. I didn't have time for on the job training. If they had been borne by me we would have grown up together and evolved into a pattern of behavior. Getting a family tossed on me makes me revert back to the only system I ever knew; my parents and how they raised us.”
     He seemed satisfied and moved on to a new subject. “Karen tells me she got in trouble recently and was punished.”
     “Yes.” While my natural reaction was to explain what transpired, I was curious to hear Karen’s version via the doctor.
     “Karen didn’t think her punishment was sufficiently severe.” He looked at me intently, awaiting my answer.
     “She wasn’t dishing it out; we were. We considered what she did and in my estimation, we responded with appropriate fairness.”
     “Do you think the spankings you received as a child were helpful? Did they stop you from misbehaving?” he asked.
     His question annoyed me. “Is this a new subject Doctor, or are you saying I should have spanked my daughter for her transgression?”
     “No! No! I’m totally against striking children. I was just curious. I’m interested in your opinion.”
     “It’s such a fascinating conundrum to me, professionally. Here, you totally embrace your parents' use of this punishment, but refuse to utilize the method yourself.”
     “I never said I totally embraced it. I said I didn’t fault my parents for utilizing it as one form of discipline.”
     “In your opinion,” he muttered.
     “Do you deny my right to my opinion?”  I snarled.
     “No. I just seek the reason behind it.” He chose his words with care. “Because your parents utilized spanking as a punishment, and you speak only favorably about your childhood. Karen is aware of that fact, and she must wonder, the same as I, why you’re so against copying their apparently successful formula.”
     Several seconds ticked off the clock while I thought about my answer. “I can’t say it stopped all my misconduct but knowing there were specific consequences to my actions was often a deterrent. No, it didn’t turn little Sarah or Suzie into angels, but we learned you have to pay the bus driver if you want to ride the line.” When he didn’t respond, I continued. “Also, I hated disappointing my parents. I loved them both very much, and I knew punishing us hurt them. My mother would often cry; my father too, sometimes.”
     “I’m still confused,” the doctor said. “You’re committed not to spank your stepchildren in spite of defending the practice in your, as you define it, near perfect household. Explain that to me.”
      “I don’t fault my parents for spanking us. I know in my heart what they did, they did out of love.”
     “Ah! Then why wouldn’t you do the same for your children? You grew up a well-adjusted and successful person under their tutelage.”
     “I’ll tell you what I told my daughter, and what my mother told me. We both had long discussions with our children, on a variety of matters. We never lie when we’re doing so but we’re often relating our opinions, not firm facts. We leave it up to the child to mix those opinions with other gathered bits of information like recipes for a cake. Then they can bake or make their own decision. Our parental opinion demonstrates why we do things, but our children are under no obligation to unfailingly adopt that opinion as their own, nor do we expect them to do so. Most times, if the advice is sound, there’s agreement. In this case I don’t happen to agree with my parents.”
     “I’m just playing the devil’s advocate, not being critical,” he said.
     “Why do I have to justify my opinion? It simply differs from my mother’s opinion.” I tried another tack. “You may believe in capital punishment but not be willing to pull the switch. Maybe at some level spanking works, but I’m not willing to do it. Call me a hypocrite, but that’s how I feel. I can’t even picture hitting Karen or Timmy. I’m not the person my mother was and Paul’s not my dad. It took special people able to communicate in an understandable way, why hurting a child was appropriate, and not generate hatred of the parent for doing it. My parents pulled it off. I don’t even want to try.”
     “I see,” he answered, but I wasn’t sure he did.
     “Why do you continue to harp on this punishment business? It was a very small part of our growing up. Frankly, I’m sick of the topic.”
     “Ah,” he said. "But unfortunately, it’s a major part of Karen’s thinking process. She has serious buried guilt. She’s learned, from you, wrongdoing is erased by taking responsibility, and accepting punishment for the deed.”
     “If she’d open up and reveal what’s troubling her, we’d forgive her in a minute!”
     “It’s not that simple. She continues to test you, to decide if she trusts you enough to reveal her deepest secrets. You’re like a candle in the child’s life.”
     “No, Doctor. I’m a taper, a match. Maybe, a spark. She’s the candle. She lights up my life!”
     He smiled. “Just don’t burn your finger, Sarah Jeanne.” He paused as I rose to leave. “How would you punish Karen if she committed a truly serious offense? Something more severe than what earned you a spanking?”
     His question troubled me all week.

Earned A Seal Of Quality

Enough to Miss Christmas is a family love story, about sisters, mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, parents and children. Foremost, it tells the story of a step mom and a precocious young lady and how they bond in spite of overwhelming odds.
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